Dear Members and Colleagues
I’m not sure I really want to look out of the window, a quick glance reveals swirling snow carried on a biting wind, it wasn’t much fun on the road this morning and frankly I feel we should all be snuggled up in front of an eco-friendly heat source with a good book and something warming to drink! Or you could plan your entry into this years Best Kept Village Competition!
This week started on Sunday for me when I represented BMKALC at the Civic Ceremony for Gerrards Cross. It was a lovely opportunity to celebrate the many organisations which contribute to their Community. We enjoyed the second outing of Planning Responses delivered by Lance Wiggins from Lion Planning. Lance provides a slightly different perspective on the planning process. It was interesting to see a different set of questions emerging across the two sessions and both were engaging and informative. We also had a session of how to plan and deliver Community Engagements. Our mailbox continued to be well utilised with questions relating to the siting of lamp posts, more VAT queries, calculating part time leave and appraisals. The last three being common at this time of year.
You will recall the changes relating to VAT and Sports Facilities. Steve Parkinson one of our Finance Partners has set up one 45-minute online Zoom briefing and Q&A session for affected councils, on Monday 20 March at 11am. Booking is available through their Bookwhen page Sports facilities VAT briefing – Booking by Bookwhen and they have set the initial maximum at 50, but that may increase, extra sessions or a recording may be made available, depending on demand. The session fee is £10 per login, only payable online by card in advance. Note this is not a BMKALC training event and so we will be unable to help you with booking.
It’s easy to forget that we still have Ukrainian visitors in our community who need our ongoing support and there are a number who are reaching the end of the current host contracts and are ready to be rematched. To promote the benefits of rematching, a series of information events will be taking place at Buckinghamshire Council’s libraries between Tuesday 14 March and Thursday 30 March. The events will provide people in Buckinghamshire with a fantastic opportunity to speak face-to-face with one of the council’s Ukraine Rematching experts, find out more about the process of becoming a Rematching Sponsor, and see the support available to sponsors to make a difference to Ukrainian guests in Buckinghamshire communities.
I am also pleased to extend an invitation to the official launch event for the Parish, Town and Community Councils Carbon Literacy Toolkit Course which is taking place on Monday 20th March at 10:30 am. There will be a selection of speakers working with Parish, Town and Community Councils who will be sharing their experiences of training using the Toolkit. If you are interested in attending, please sign up here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/carbon-literacy-parish-town-and-community-councils-toolkit-course-launch-tickets-570520581417.
The OEP has launched a call for evidence seeking evidence and views to inform our review of protected nature sites laws in England and Northern Ireland. NALC will not be responding on this as it is such a specialist area. If you wish to do so directly please take a look at: Protected Sites Call for Evidence. Please could any evidence be submitted by Friday 21 April 2023 to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Whilst student volunteering week, February, is now over if you are looking at rousing volunteer interest you might want to visit Community Impact Bucks’ website to read tips including what to consider when developing volunteer roles, where to recruit, and induction and training for different ages.
Next week, apart from celebrating being the mother of a 26 year old, I’ll be looking forward to a full team back in the office tackling Clerks Essentials, MK Parish Liaison, County Training Officers Forum and my fortnightly catchup with our T&P liaison officers from BC and MKCC. Future training includes Chairing Skills, CCTV – Practical Compliance, Agenda and Minutes, and more. Keep an eye on our website for updates to training and access to your request form for our specialist Membership Services. Even further ahead we look forward in April to introducing a new cohort of potential CiLCA candidates to each other. After last years very productive year, we might even need to run two teams this year, but I shall asses that after External Audits are clear.
Your homework for this week includes considering getting started on the Local Council Award Scheme. We need a better showing in our County and we should all be working on Foundation Level at the very least. So take a look at The LCAS Guide. The second part is to look at the Civility and Respect Pledge and project deliverables. These two activities go together well. So not perhaps a good book, but thrown together with a convivial environment and refreshment, a good way to invest some time. Have a lovely weekend and we look forward to speaking with you next week.
Mel, Helen and Lorraine